Recruiting Rockstars

65% of startups fail because they don’t have the right talent.  At the early stages, it’s an execution business.  People execute.  It’s that simple.  However, hiring people isn’t a skill we are born with.  They don’t exactly teach hiring in any school either.  Instead, we learn by doing and we all make mistakes.  My friend Jeff Hyman is trying to change that so he wrote a book called Recruiting Rockstars and you should buy it today and read it.

I first met Jeff when he was raising money for his last company. I didn’t invest because it wasn’t in my wheelhouse, but I was impressed with him. Prior to that company, he had built and sold other entrepreneurial companies. He has felt the pains outlined in this book.

Here is a video Jeff made about the book.

He practices what he preaches. He encourages CEO’s to make videos when they want to hire.

What I love about the way Jeff approaches hiring is that he puts a process in place. He tries to take variance out of a process that has a lot of variance because you are dealing with humans on each side of the equation. It’s pretty easy for a person to say, “hire great people”, but it’s significantly harder to actually do it. The other thing CEO’s need to do is fire fast. Jeff offers up ways to do that too. Usually, you know if a person is going to fit within 60 days.

This is not an approach to undertake piecemeal. It requires your board of directors to be involved. It involves your lowest employee. When you do it right you will find that everyone in the company is on board and you will create the culture that you want. Your culture will help you recruit new rockstars. I think if you combine what he talks about with the thinking of The Risky Hire, you will develop a team that is unstoppable. Once hired, you might think about using JuvodHR to track and keep people engaged.

Jeff operates a podcast, Strong Suit. Here is the link.

From my perspective as an investor, it’s enlightening. It gives me a way to think about the process with a ready-made manual on how to advise CEOs. Great job Jeff.

  • Richa

    Very timely for me right now. Thanks!

  • Thanks for this suggestion. Just ordered and eager to read Hiring Rockstars. It is geared toward CEOs rather than outside recruiters but I think it will be enlightening for my work and in supporting my clients in doing a better job of hiring.

    Your opening sentence is why I do what I do. And yet only a percentage of founders can afford to pay a recruiting fee. For those who can, using someone like me is not a permanent solution. But if I can model for them how to run the process, this hopefully helps them to build on what I’ve started. This book may help.

  • Hiring right is truly a major skill set for any management team/person.

    “You know in 60 days” I’ve known I screwed up a hire within days at times. It’s the fit almost more than the talent that is so crucial. But almost impossible to know.

    The Market Gods are laughing at us right now preparing some cruel twist.

    • I was just looking at my portfolio. Why is every line up and to the right? That never happens. Correction for sure. I wish the Fed would aggressively raise rates. Very hard to price in the tax cut and the deregulation. Each corporate entity has a different WACC based on their assumptions so it’s very hard to predict with any accuracy what American corporates will do. I don’t think they know yet either.

  • ZilWerks

    Not having read the book, I cannot comment on “Hiring Rockstars”

    However, from personal experience, the “rockstars” are usually nothing more than ordinary people who are slightly better communicators (blowhards), with a wide range of skills (no technical expertise), and very goal focused (get credit and move up). I have met a few who I would call “rockstar” employees, but I have met way to many who claim to be those “rockstars” but are unworthy of it (except in their own eyes, and usually the manager/boss who hired them).

    The very few “rockstars” I saw worthy of the name were goal-oriented, valued team contribution, and were humble. For each one there were dozens who demanded to be treated like “rockstars”.

    Hell, my company is still cleaning up the mess our last “rockstar” designer/coder left us with.

    • This is a great point that Jeff talks about early in the book.